Tesla shoppers evaporate, BMW still most shopped luxury brand: Kelley Blue Book

The Q3 2022 Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch reports that the number of people shopping for a Tesla plummeted over the quarter, while BMW maintained its position as the first choice among luxury vehicle shoppers, and Toyota widened its lead as the most-shopped non-luxury brand in America. At the same time, interest in purchasing  traditional cars rebounded to pre-pandemic levels during the third quarter.

“BMW and Toyota continue to stand firm in their positions as the most-shopped luxury and non-luxury brands (respectively), and both automakers increased their lead over the competition during Q3 2022,” said Vanessa Ton, senior research and market intelligence manager at Cox Automotive.

Kelley Blue Book produces quarterly Brand Watch reports for non-luxury and luxury brands, determining how vehicle brands and models stack up with segment competitors when it comes to consumer shopping. A special look at electrified vehicle shopping also is included.

“The third quarter also saw a noteworthy drop in consideration for Tesla, which could have been caused by a number of factors,” said Ton. “Increased competition from other automakers offering more new electric vehicles, price hikes and a lack of new products all may have contributed to Tesla’s considerable decline. However, we have seen Tesla’s shopping numbers drop before and they always eventually rebound. It will be interesting to see if they rebound more slowly or quickly this time around.”

In terms of luxury brands, the survey found that BMW widened its lead in the third quarter, with 22 per cent of luxury shoppers considering BMW (up one percentage point from Q2 2022). BMW also dominated the Top 10 list of most-shopped luxury models with three vehicles, including the 3 Series, 5 Series and X5. Lexus, Cadillac, Audi and Mercedes-Benz (in that order) ranked behind BMW as the most-shopped luxury brands —all ahead of Tesla, and all were unchanged from the previous quarter. The Cadillac Escalade remained the number one most-shopped luxury vehicle for the third straight quarter. Other brands gaining consideration in Q3 include Buick, Genesis and Porsche.

Toyota led the non-luxury brands, and “despite having one of the lowest inventory levels in the U.S. automotive industry, it widened its lead in shopping consideration over Ford and Chevrolet.” Of all non-luxury shoppers, 35 per cent considered a Toyota in Q3 2022, the same percentage as the previous quarter. Ford and Chevrolet each dropped by one percentage point quarter over quarter to 30 per cent and 29 per cent, respectively. Other brands gaining consideration in Q3 include Jeep, Subaru and Volkswagen.

Shopping for traditional cars rebounded to pre-pandemic levels during Q3 2022, with 40 per cent of all non-luxury shoppers considering a car. In comparison, less than a third considered a car one year ago. According to the report, “High gas prices contributed to the bounce-back, as cars typically are more fuel-efficient than their SUV and truck counterparts.” Despite the renewed interest in cars, SUVs steadily remained the most popular vehicle style, with two-thirds of all non-luxury shoppers considering an SUV. About a third of shoppers considered a pickup truck, with the Ford F-150 returning to its top position in Q3 2022 as the most-shopped pickup.

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